In re-match of 2011 playoff inal, Keene prevails again, 7-6
KEENE, N.H. The second-seeded Keene State College women's lacrosse team advanced to the championship game of the Little East Conference tournament with a 7-6 defensive-minded semifinal victory over third seed Eastern Conn. State at Owl Athletic Complex on Friday.
Winners of 12 out of their last 13 games, the Owls (14-3) tied the program record for wins in a season and will be hosting the finals for the first time on Sunday. Keene State, the defending LEC champs, earned the right to host after top seed Plymouth State was upset by fifth seed Western Conn. 10-9 in the other semifinal game on Friday.
The Owls built up an early lead and had to hang on for dear life against the upset-minded Warriors (12-7).
Keene State jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first six minutes of the game. Sophomore ElizaWitherbee, who had three of the Owls' seven goals, walked right in and scored to give the Owls a1-0 lead just 20 seconds into the game. Three minutes later, junior Lauren Brown found Witherbee cutting to the net for a goal to make it 2-0. Brown capped off the early uprising with a goal to put the Owls up 3-0.
KSC sophomore goalie Erin Taylor kept the Warriors off the board with a couple of saves before senior Ashley Prizio (Brookfield) beat her with a turn-and shoot one-timer, making it 3-1 game.
After Witherbee put the Owls up 4-1, KSC held the ball before setting up a well-executed play that resulted in a goal by Brown with three second to go that gave Keene State a 5-1 halftime lead.
Keene State and Eastern traded goals early in the second half. Junior Daniela Marchitto (Orange.) scored on a free position in the first minute of play and sophomore Julie Trombetta (answered with a goal for the Owls. Prizio and KSC senior Sammi Benson followed with unassisted goals to make it a 7-3 game.
Both teams' defenses stiffened from there.
The Warriors made thing interesting scoring the final three goals of the game, including a free position goal by junior Christina Rully (Orange) with 1:59 to play that made it a one goal (7-6) game.
Both teams turned the ball over in the final minute of play. After KSC cleared the ball to the center of the field, the Warriors got the ball back, but a long pass to Alexa Foldy (Brookfield) sailed by her stick as time expired on the clock.
Rully and Prizio each had two goals for Eastern while senior Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) stopped seven shots in the Warriors' net.
The statistics were indicative of the close play. KSC had a slight 23-18 advantage in shots while the Warriors led KSC 8-6 in draw controls.
Keene State will be making its fourth trip to the LEC championship game. The Owls lost to Plymouth State in 2004 finals and defeated Eastern to win the crown in 20009 and 2011
Courtesy of Keene Sports Information.